“Wonderful”: Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell makes an amazing comment as the Vikings set sights on $98 Million All-Pro Ahead of Playoffs…

Vikings Eyeing $98 Million All-Pro Ahead of Playoffs …

The Minnesota Vikings are actively exploring potential options to enhance their roster as they approach the crucial final stretch of the regular season. Among the possibilities being considered is the acquisition of former All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who was recently released by the Indianapolis Colts. Diana Russini of The Athletic reported on November 23 that the Vikings, along with other NFC playoff contenders such as the Eagles and Cowboys, are in the process of gathering information on the three-time All-Pro.

Shaquille Leonard had been with the Indianapolis Colts for the past few seasons, signing a substantial five-year, $98.25 million contract extension in 2021. Unfortunately, his time with the Colts was marred by injuries, prompting the team to release him. Despite his impressive track record, Leonard’s performance was hindered by back surgeries last season, limiting him to just three games. The 28-year-old linebacker had previously been on a “Hall of Fame” trajectory, earning accolades such as the 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year and setting the franchise’s single-season sack record.

During his six seasons with the Colts, Leonard started in 68 of the 70 games he appeared in, amassing impressive statistics, including 614 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits, 15 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries. His versatility was further highlighted by 31 pass breakups and 12 interceptions, showcasing his ability as a playmaker on the defensive end.

However, Leonard’s role and playing time diminished upon his return from back surgeries, with his frustration over his usage becoming apparent. Despite these challenges, he expressed a desire to continue playing and not considering retirement. The linebacker’s release from the Colts presented an opportunity for a fresh start, and he could find a promising environment with the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings’ interest in Leonard aligns with their recent setback in losing veteran linebacker Jordan Hicks to injured reserve. Hicks suffered a leg contusion that developed into a compartment disorder, leading to surgery and his placement on injured reserve on November 14. In response, the Vikings brought back fan-favorite linebacker Anthony Barr, who saw limited action in the last game against the Denver Broncos.

Shaquille Leonard

Considering Leonard’s potential to contribute significantly to the pass rush and bolster the defense, the Vikings view him as a valuable addition, especially given the recent loss of Hicks. Leonard’s dissatisfaction with his role in the Colts’ defense could potentially be addressed with a fresh start in Minnesota. Furthermore, his acquisition could come at a reasonable cost, potentially in the form of a prove-it deal for the remainder of the 2023 season. As Leonard contemplates his decision, the Vikings remain one of the teams actively pursuing the talented linebacker to strengthen their playoff push.

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